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99 Problems

The daily struggles of urban living as a quadriplegic explained one by one. It's so much more than not being able to find a parking space.

99 Problems — #7 House Wars

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Old_Timey_by_bear65My husband Cory and I share an incredibly peaceful living situation. It’s quite an amazing feat considering we both work from home and are literally together all day, every day. Our routine goes something like this: We wake up. We eat breakfast. We try to write at some point, usually it’s after we eat lunch and Cory goes to yoga. I workout too, if I’m not being lazy. We take breaks, watch TV or read a book. We compare notes. And then somehow it’s evening and we’ve successfully managed to spend another day in each others face’s with great joy. Soon, I imagine we won’t even need to talk to each other but instead just grunt and nod. We can already finish each other’s sentences.

Even in dreamy domestic bliss, we still are human and flawed and there are times that we disagree. Since animosity happens so rarely in our household the differences–whether great or small–often feel of epic proportions. Like the women of “Snapped” who murder their husbands, during these moments I can see how the illogical can become almost reasonable. “I was just cutting up some watermelon and then suddenly my husband walked by and stabbed him instead. It seemed like the right thing to do.” Um, no. I’m kidding. I would never follow through with a plan like murder… completely.

Mainly, the two contentions in our home are the patio door and the remote control.

The patio door issue is kind of silly. I enjoy having the patio door open unless it’s chilly (which is nearly every morning in Los Angeles). Cory thinks the patio door should always be open so the puppy can freely walk in and out for her water. So every morning we circle each other opening and closing the door, until finally it’s noon and it no longer matters. And then about 7pm the circling begins again. He opens. I shut. He opens. I shut. And so the cycle continues until one of us becomes too lazy to make a move or we go to bed.

The remote control, on the other hand, is a much more complex issue. Sure, it seems unfair that my husband is the primary remote control user (but to be honest he’s much faster and more efficient at using it than me). Yes, it drives me crazy that he likes to watch three shows at the same time, constantly flipping channels in between commercials. There have been times he has lost the remote control and then had a ball blaming the loss on me. The ole’ “You had it last,” tennis match. But what drives me the craziest–more than any of these silly little spats–is that my husband has an unexplainable obsession with pushing the mute button at anytime while watching TV.

Say there’s a commercial that he can’t fast forward through–mute.
If someone is publicly making a fool of him or her self on TV–mute.
To be more specific, if a guy is trying to impress a girl on The Bachelorette–mute.
If I ask a question–mute.
If he doesn’t like what I’m watching–mute.
If he receives a text and the response requires thought–mute.
If the app Words With Friends dings on his phone–mute.
If the remote is in his hand and it’s been too long without silence–mute.
If he walks in the door from walking the dog–mute. (This is a double offender because it’s a mute, immediately followed by opening the patio door.)

As someone who has never used the mute button on the remote control, EVER, his overuse is insanely irritating. So I must reply to the muting or else it will go unnoticed.

“Wait, what are you doing?”
“I wanted to hear what he said.”
“Why did you do that?”
“Sound please.”

I can tell by the way he looks at me he has no idea that he is a “mute button” abuser. It’s just something that comes naturally to him, perhaps a habit stemmed from his bachelorhood. Thankfully he always obliges to my request to return to volume. Sometimes, if he’s feeling extra nice (or guilty), he even rewinds so I can hear what I missed via instant replay. Even so, the interruption is bothersome, especially because it’s an action that is completely unnecessary (at least in my mind. He obviously would argue otherwise).

And then–most recently–the muting was taken to a whole new level.

We were vacationing in Seattle and I was sitting in the bedroom part of our two-room suite, applying mascara at a little wooden desk. Directly above me and to my right a large flatscreen TV hung on the wall. Airing that morning was “Kelly & Michael Live,” a show I always watch (or have on as background noise) when getting ready in the mornings. I was in mid-lash application when my husband–of just four months mind you–strutted into the room from the other side of the suite, the place he had been watching his own TV while sitting on his own couch, and without even a greeting, he grabbed the remote to my TV, pushed mute, dropped the remote on the desk, and then casually strolled past me. On his way to the the bathroom he yapped on, something about how dumb talk shows are and that he couldn’t understand why I watched them. It was a rant I had heard many times before.

Immediately, I stopped what I was doing. I placed my mascara brush back into its bottle and twisted the lid on tightly. Slowly I pulled away from the table and quietly made my way into the suite’s living room area, the place Cory had just stormed in from and also the place he had claimed as his lounging zone. I needed a minute. I needed to take a couple deep breaths and also construct my own instant replay of what just happened, you know play it over in my mind to make sure that I wasn’t the crazy one.

I made mental notes mid-review.

1. Yep, I was minding my own business putting make up on and watching a show I watch every morning while getting ready.
2. Yep, he actually walked in and muted my show without asking.
3. Yep, he has access to his own TV in his own ‘lounging zone.’
4. Yes, I am well aware he hates “Kelly & Michael.”  He’s told me a million times that he hates silly banter on talk shows and yet this does not sway my opinion. Why does he not realize this?
5. Conclusion: It was dick move that needed confrontation.

With confidence I re-entered the bedroom. “You know…” I began, hands trembling. “I think it’s really rude that you walked in here, muted my show, and then went on an entire rant about how dumb and stupid talks shows can be. I know you don’t like talk shows. You’ve told me, almost one hundred times. I get it. I really do. Still. I’m going watch talk shows… that’s what I do. I would never–NEVER–walk up to you while your watching Sports Center, grab the remote, mute the TV and then go on a tangent about how I think sports are stupid. That’s because I respect you…  and I’d appreciate it if you could do the same.”

It was a speech worthy of applause, yet as each word floated away from my tongue I felt more and more ridiculous. I had created a triumphant speech about a remote control, or yet the tiny mute button on the remote control, while on vacation in a beautiful city we had yet to fully explore. Better yet. I don’t even like “Kelly & Michael Live” as much as I love having background noise. Not to mention, I would never mute Sports Center because I love sports. Like those crazy women on “Snapped,” I snapped, only I didn’t have any weaponry within reach to seal the deal. I just had words, words accompanied by unfavorable facial expressions. I suppose I could have dug out my mascara brush and painted him black. That would have made me feel better for one second until I realized it was just a waste of perfectly good, expensive make up. So after my verbal attack, I sat frozen in silence, embarrassed yet prideful, awaiting a response.

“I’m sorry,” he said, walking up to me open-armed. “That was bad.”

“I’m sorry, too,” I replied, wrapping my arms around his waist. “I just went all crazy wife on you, ‘Snapped’ style.”

In the middle of the hotel room we hugged and held each other for a good amount of time, long enough for Cory to fully process what I had just said.

“You’re not plotting my murder or anything? Or are you?” he finally asked.

“Of course not,” I answered, laughing. “Or am I?”

For that moment the ‘mute’ war was over. However, the fact remains that at times he prefers silence. And I always prefer noise. We are in trouble, but we know it.

◊ ◊ ◊

Missing one problem? At ease waringis.com soldier. They’re all right here.
99 Problems #1 The Attack of the Flying Pens
99 Problems #2 My Kitty Has Super Powers
99 Problems #3 Los Angeles Sidewalks Are Cracked Out
99 Problems #4 Strangers Touch Me
99 Problems #5 I Once Offended a Woman With Lupus.
99 Problems #6 I Hate Parking Garage Ticket Dispensers


One Response to “99 Problems — #7 House Wars”

  1. kathy kiely says:

    jana — a good slice of life. as an always-single woman, i cannot imagine the challenge of sharing my space, or my remote, with anyone. am i just terribly selfish, or is it self-preservation? and i must confess: the tv in my house is on “mute” more often than not!

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